Things to do in Paris: Montparnasse Tower
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There are many ways to see a modern city, from the glistening waters that run through its heart to the road networks that form its nervous system. Paris is one such city blessed with many perspectives, from the grand boulevard of the Champs-Élysées, to the ebbs of the River Seine and the sprawling subterranean catacombs. Each landmark, whether natural or man made, contributes its own tale to the full saga of Paris' history and culture.
There is a particular place of note where many of these stories coalesce into one great attraction, 'Tour Montparnasse 56'. As the city's most comprehensive vantage point, Montparnasse Tower represents one of central Paris' best sightseeing locations. '56' denotes the floor number of the tower's panoramic glass observation deck. It is from this floor, or the upper terrace, that visitors can get a bird's-eye view on countless wonders throughout Paris, including, but by no means limited to, the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral and L'Hôtel National des Invalides.
Montparnasse Tower is a skyscraper located in the city's Montparnasse district. Its observation deck affords visitors 360 degree viewing angles, and you travel to the top in one of the world's fastest elevators: 22km/h for a total journey time of just under 40 seconds! There's numerous free to use telescopes, spots to put your feet up and enjoy the views, and best of all, interactive panels using augmented reality to explore the urban landscape. Scroll through the panels much as you would a large tablet PC, as you pass over key landmarks the digital display will highlight them and flag up more detailed information about their history and function. You're free to browse through the sights at your leisure, and there's even kid friendly quizzes and user interfaces.
From the observation deck you can either continue on up to the open-air terrace, or check out the 360 Café and gift shop. The 360 Café is perfect for light refreshments while the gift shop stocks over 300 themed items that are sure to provide an ideal little keepsake or souvenir. It should be noted that Montparnasse Tower also houses the highest restaurant in Europe, 'Ciel de Paris'. The restaurant is open daily from 08:30-23:00, and its 'Bar Américain' welcomes visitors right up until 01:00 in the morning. Ciel de Paris is reservation only, but you can book yourself in by calling: +33(1) 40 64 77 64.
Finally, we have the terrace, one of the best places to go and things to do in Paris. Through walls of glass you'll experience the finest views in the entire city. On a pleasant, sunny day be sure to bring up your camera and sunglasses and snap away with complete freedom. The gentle breezes and clear skies only add to the wonderful atmosphere. To experience the terrace at its best, head up for sunset. The colourful vistas that unfold as dusk creeps in are a truly magical sight, not to mention Paris' own lights that twinkle to life and give credence to the famous nickname 'La Ville Lumière'.